Singapore is gradually gaining a reputation as festival city, with almost one big event happening every month throughout the year. WHABBY! Music Carnival taking place at *Scape Playspace this Saturday from 12pm is here to join the ever-growing list. Featuring only local music and dance acts among other activities, it prides itself as a platform for local creatives to share what they have and prove that they are all here to stay.
B-Side shares a couple of minutes with WHABBY!'s campaigner Michael Spinks on the carnival and what it offers.
Singapore has plenty of festivals all year round. In terms of music, we have Shine Festival and Baybeats beyond the year-long programming of The Esplanade. So why WHABBY! Music Carnival?
WHABBY! Music Carnival has grown organically from a community of musicians who just wanted to get together, have a party and play music. I had never intended to start a music festival and I certainly didn't expect us to be organising our 3rd one this year, but here we are. We are not in competition with any of the other music events in Singapore, we just want to provide a fun and different atmosphere and an opportunity for not only the artists, but the general public as well to discover how great Singapore created music is. We’re just going to keep doing our thing as long as we can.
The core team is made up of notable musicians. Why do you think this is important and how does this go on to influence the organisation of this carnival?
True, our core team are musicians, but that's not as important as having a passion for Singapore created music and an appreciation for the outstanding talented artists we have here in Singapore and try to help promote it. As musicians we can spot talent, but it also helps knowing which artists are serious musicians who want to pursue music as a career so we can help them along on their path with another opportunity to perform.
It is mentioned that WHABBY! Music not only supports talent but seeks it. Share with us how you do so.
I love live music so I personally seek out and attend venues, events, open mics, etc. looking for talented musicians. If I like them I make it a point to introduce myself, and trade contact information with the idea I might be able to help them find gigging opportunities. It’s how this entire thing started in fact. I just like helping the talented young musicians I meet. It's fun and satisfying for me so I continue to do it.
Do you think talent is the most important aspect in being a successful musician in Singapore?
Talent is a gift for sure, but it's not the most important thing that makes a successful musician. That would be dedication, commitment and hustle to the art itself.
One of the most frustrating things I see with some musicians is how talented they are yet they are either too lazy to help themselves or they expect someone else to do all the heavy lifting for them. I would rather help an average musician who hustles her ass off than an excellent one who is lazy. It's a waste of time and a waste of talent. The ones who work hard are the ones who will succeed in the music business.
Why do you think the misconception that we don’t have a music scene still so prevalent despite having a diverse scene?
Words. Words matter. The way we use words to describe the music industry here, it's really more than just a scene. Even the word "local" seems to have a negative connotation here as if "local" means the quality is less than. Which is obviously ridiculous. I know this is semantics, but how we describe things and use words is powerful, they make impressions and people make judgements based on those impressions. So we use words such as original music created in Singapore, or Singaporean created music instead of using the words local music. It's just music.
Our motto is Local is Dead go Global Instead.
That's what WHABBY! Music is doing with our social media platforms, redefining and clarifying those misconceptions and exposing Singaporean created music to a global audience.
As a member of the general public, what more can I do and would I really make a difference just by attending one carnival?
Every little bit helps to push the music forward. A step at a time. As a member of the general public you can support Singaporean artists by not only buying their music, but also buying tickets to events that showcase Singapore original music, WHABBY! Music Carnival is FREE by the way. You can follow their social media pages, call radio stations and request more Singaporean created music to be played, join organisations that support the arts.
Failing all that, you can start your very own music festival like we did.